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Briolette Suspension - a tutorial by Paul Bishop

This is the last wire project in our special series, created and shared by Paul Bishop, our wire-wrapping champ, of Bishop Wire & Bead.  Many many thanks to Paul...if you've seen my wire wrapping, you know that you don't want me doing these tutorials!

Project #5 – Briolette Suspension

You need:

· A length of heavy half-hard wire, enough to go around the briolette with room to space and to create the extra bends and hanging loops. Since the wire is on the outside, soft wire will not be strong enough unless you can hammer it to hardness after formed.

· Two lengths of soft, thinner wire. Soft is important.

· A briolette. Any kind will do

· Wire cutters

· Circular/Oval forms (anything that you can wrap wire around. I used dowels.

· Chain-nose and flat-nosed pliers

· (Optional) Round-nosed pliers, jewelry hammer and anvil/bench block

The hardest part of this is the metal frame. It needs to be very symmetrical so the briolette hangs properly once completed.

1. Take the length of heavy wire and bend it into a circle/oval using a form larger than the briolette would fit into when laying flat. Let the ends cross.

2. Bend the crossed ends back using a smaller circle form, taking care to keep it symmetrical and flat. You might find it helpful to measure and mark your “pivot points” (where the curve changes direction) with a fine point marker.

3. Repeat the make the hanging loops, letting the wire overlap as if you were starting a wrapped loop.

a. For the hanging loops, I used the base of my round-nosed pliers.

4. Cut the wire with the wire cutters, and make sure the entire piece is flat, in the same manner as closing a jump ring.

5. At this point, if you want to add texture to the frame or simply flatten it, use the hammer and hard surface to do so. Once done, check to be sure it’s still symmetrical and flat.

6. Take the thin wire, and start a wrap around the curved portions between the bends made in step 2.

7. End the wrap on the whatever side you’ve chosen to be the back.

8. Cut both ends and tuck the ends against the inside of the thick wire and/or inside the wrapping.

9. Take the second thin wire and wrap it tightly onto the frame, high enough that the weight of the briolette won’t pull it to the bottom of the frame (I started wrapping up the frame from the 10 o’clock position).

10. Put the briolette on the end of the wire and position it in the center of the frame.

11. Take the wire from the unwrapped side of the briolette and wrap it onto the frame at the same position the other touches the frame on the other side.

12. Wrap the wire, making a reflection of the other wrapped side.

13. Trim the wires and tuck them against the back of the frame.

14. Attach the hanging loops to your stringing material.

I have another version of this done in copper wire. The frame does not come anywhere near touching at the top, but it is circular/oval enough that the briolette won’t slide down the sides as wrapped. Also, I used a heavier wire throughout to keep the form stronger.

Copyright 2010 Paul Bishop. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit without the permission of the author.  

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Heather said…
Thank you for your tutorial! I just bought my first half hard silver wire last week. I like your design but I am not a copier so I hope use your tutorial as a guide to making my own design. When I finish I will post the results and credit you for wonderful instruction.
Paul Bishop said…
Heather, this method to hang a briolette is quite well known. It's the shape and how the chain attaches that makes it different. Have fun with your experiment!

Pretty Things: I agree :)